Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Logging Off from Accenture

This is a small portion of my journey called Life.

I was more than delighted when Accenture offered me a job (though not the first one) in campus selection and I couldn’t resist myself throwing grand party to my friends. Off course the party was a Wet one. Joining the Big league as an ASE, I was trained in SAP ABAP like many others. Soon after I was absorbed in a project (Wolseley). Thanks to Vijay for that. As an ASE I learnt a lot, guided by Srilatha and others my learning curve only became exponential.

I was quiet unfortunate that I couldn’t work in any project for a long duration but project was never a shortage in Accenture until the great recession of 2008 while we were put to ITP( Bench ). It was a tough time for all of us but never felt insecure of my job. We kept updating ourselves and there was no shortage of trainings. It was the HR ABAP boot camp and Sourav who had the confidence in me and absorbed me in Newcrest. I am great full to Sishir for providing me the opportunity to work in Newcrest. It was The Project where my learning curve became the steepest. Though it was hectic sometimes but we did party harder. Rest about Newcrest is history.

I made a lot of friends in Accenture and all of them have only enriched me with knowledge. Nilanjan, from the Newcrest days have guided me in many critical objects and situations that I faced in my personal life and continue to do so. Srilatha has taught me innumerous things about ABAP. Friends with whom I played for Accenture corporate football tournaments and worked out in the office gym have helped me to grow. The GPTW events were the most memorable ones; I have taken a lot of Photographs and shared with many of you. The adventure trip to Dandeli only added new persons to my friend list and what an adventure we had while rafting. The office parties that I attended during my tenure will always have a special place in my memory, there were so many of them.

And today when I am logging off from this wonderful organization my heart is heavy. I will miss all of you and working in this wonderful place called Accenture HDC. Due to some family constraints I have to go back near my home town for now. But I believe this is not the end of the road and our paths will intersect again in near future.

All of you have a special place in my heart and I will love to keep in touch with you. Please write to me at . I will update you all with my changed phone number once I have it.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Wanderer's Ride to Nagarjuna Sagar

A Wanderers diary

My trip to Nagarjuna Sagar

After a long time I took a much needed travel break on my bike with old and new found wanderers. Nov 2009 was my last ride to Tadoba, for which I haven’t posted anything. Perhaps I was lazy; perhaps I got bored with write-ups. Well let’s concentrate on the ride that I am talking about, the Nagarjuna Sagar ride.

August 15, 2010 -> Independence Day Ride

I was not sure about taking up this ride since I had classes in the morning and the ride was to start at noon. But boredom in Hyderabad accompanied with several unhappy events in my personal life prompted me to take up the ride at the last moment. I called up veteran Lalit bhai and was guided to Shyamal bhai to reach the meeting point. I met with Shyamal bhai at about 11.45 AM and on checking my bikes engine oil level found it to be inadequate and hence went for a quick top-up. Both of us reached the meeting point on Sagar road well beyond stipulated time and waited for others to turn up. My friend Raghu the great poltergeist came to see us off and brought his gloves and elbow guard for me. He cares for me.

This time there were two TV crew with us and the camera person of Channel 4 was supposed to ride with me. Unwillingly I took him as a pillion rider. And hence the ride started off and me at times cruising past all the 17 riders and at others following them just for the TV crew to get some good shots. I had to stop, Cruise and slow down as per my pillion rider’s instruction who only spoke in Telegu, and a few words in English (fast, slow, stop are the only ones which I could decipher).

In no time we were out of the city limits and passed through rain washed lush green fields of Andhra, small hillocks added to the beauty of the landscape. We stopped at a village and had our lunch and carried on our journey there after. Our destination was Etipotala Waterfall near Nagarjuna Sagar dam. Finally we reached the venue around 4.30 pm, aligned our bikes and entered the APTDC premises. The department of tourism had arranged Rajasthani folk dance; we enjoyed that for a while and went ahead towards the viewpoint of the waterfalls which were in full fury after the rains. Pali Singh cracked jokes with Dev (the insane rider) and we took full charm of it. I met some of our office guys who also came for a get away. We came back to our rooms after sunset and watching the lighting in the waterfall.

Waking up Dev:

Fun followed in the rooms with TV crew and all others gathered with Drinks (extra money paid in shop) and snacks which continued till midnight after which I fell asleep and had no idea of what happened next. Meantime Pali Singh and I had 5 ice creams each. Morning I heard that Dev did drink some excess and waking him up added more fun to us. After repeated attempts we couldn’t wake up Dev, Pali Singh even started riding his bike which he treats like his girlfriend. In normal condition he might have ripped the person daring to ride his bike but this time he failed to wake up. I took advantage and rode with Pali Singh. All these couldn’t wake him up. So what’s next. We carried out Dev’s cot with Dev out in the middle of the road in the sun. Photo session continued and still he didn’t wake up. The Labrador (it was in the Hotel) was brought and released in his bed, he woke up hugging the bitch, we made some fun of him and again he went back to sleep in his room while the cot remained on the road. We decided to leave him accompanied by Prasant and go for a visit to Nagarjuna Konda Island.

Boat Ride to Nagarjuna Konda Island.

A set of boats operate from one side of the dam to an island inside the reservoir. Our riders took one of them. The ride was a pleasant one with constant entertainment from Pali Singh, and on our way back it started raining. It was torrential rain and the leak in the roof of the boat almost soaked us. It was awesome view since no side of the reservoir was visible while it was raining and we were amidst the reservoir.

Ride back to Hyderabad

Post lunch we started our journey back towards Hyderabad again with my pillion cameraman. After a while we stopped and it was decided that I will be trailing all while the lead was taken by Shyamal bhai. Unfortunately Col. Saksena’s bike stopped and failed to start. All others left while I tried to start the bike with Col. Kicks didn’t work, tried to push it to start, and then finally decided to check the spark plug. In no time Pali Singh and Lalit bhai came since they started a few min after us. We unsuccessfully tried all tricks that we knew and could gather by calling mechanic back home. It started raining, and we huddled inside Lalit Bhai’s van.

Rain Episode:

Huddling inside a cramped van was not a delightful experience, moreover how long a wanderer can remain stranded due to rain; hence we decided to ignore Mother Nature’s fury and try fixing the bike. Wearing the upper half of my rain suite I with the others tried in vain to fix the beast. Then discovered that the Battery has completely drained out and only way is to get it recharged or replaced. Villagers advised a shop 5KM ahead and I with Col decided to go on my bike while others would wait. While we rode, it started raining incessantly and the road in front of us was getting blurred due to rain. The rain drops hit hard on me and it felt that someone is hitting pebbles on us. Still we sped at 50-60KM/Hr. On reaching the village we understood the battery can only be fixed in a village 26KM ahead and hence we rode back to the place where others waited with the break down bike.

The Towing Story:

We tied a rope with my bike and Col’s and started pulling it as it rained continuously. At places my bike swayed due to the slippery road and subsequent weight of the vehicle behind me. It was a difficult task to tow a bike in rain as the trucks in front of us were driving slowly and we neither could follow them nor overtake them since it was a two lane road. While crossing a village, the road was full of pot holes and I slowed down. As I slowed down the rope became slack and the front wheel of Col’s bike got entangled in it resulting in a hard fall. I believe Col did hurt himself but sprang up almost instantly as I pushed the brake hard to stop. He ignored his injury and we carried on the same way.

The Accident and the Rescue:

After towing almost 10KM we saw a Red Maruti swift stranded in middle of the road and people rushing towards it, must have been a crash. As we moved closer my heart started pounding heavily, and the scene made me feel numb. We quickly got off our bikes. There was no time to feel, no time for fear and emotions. Something in us made us run for the rescue effort. The Swift had a head on collision with a truck and the driver was already dead. One victim of accident was trapped inside the car; he seemed to be alive and we tried hard to take him out of the rear seat while ambulance arrived. Pali Singh asked driver of a truck to bring the Jack rod and three of us tried to break open the door behind the driver’s seat. The lock was stuck. We pulled the man out through the other door. While paramedic worked on the victim I saw his right femur bone had broken and is protruding out of his torn trouser. He was quickly lifted into the ambulance. The condition of two other victims were a little better with one of them having a deep cut in his head and a broken left arm, both covered with blood and shaking in fear. To my horror the paramedic asked us to unload the person whom we lifted into the ambulance as he declared him dead. I couldn’t believe it since he was breathing a few minutes ago. People prayed for him as we laid him in the road and picked the other into the ambulance. Someone’s prayer was heard as I saw the person who was declared dead was breathing. The paramedic refused to take him on ambulance as he may not make it for the 25KM journey, but peoples request paid off and he was also taken into the ambulance which sped off immediately.

Moving Ahead:

We left the scene with the dead body still in its place since it couldn’t be taken out. Towing a few more miles the same incident of rope getting tangled happened resulting in another hard fall for the Col; we decided to tow in old fashioned way i.e riding a bike and pushing the other with one leg. I knew I am not good at this technique so after a while Pali Singh took over, by then it was already dark. We reached a village and I asked a mechanic if he could do something, hoping against hope we brought the bike to his workshop and the battery was taken for recharging. Meanwhile Pali Singh’s bike stopped due to electrical problem and we understood it’s not possible to get it fixed and hence searched for our last option, a mini truck.

Back to Hyderabad:

Col occupied my pillion seat while others boarded the Van and drove off towards Hyderabad. The road was dark and my headlight was not good. I cautiously rode since I was unable to figure out the turns of the road; also road signs were inadequate. After a while I got to follow a small car and reached the outskirts of Hyderabad. We waited for our vehicles to arrive by truck and went to Pali Singh’s place, had a GLASS of Coffee each and came back home. I dropped Col to his garrison and had a wonderful dinner with his family post midnight. Col was impressed seeing wanderers efforts in distress, he admitted that it’s difficult to impress him; but he was impressed by our sense of brotherhood and unity, which he felt was absent in civilian life. He made us feel proud of being a true rider, caring and helping each other during troubled times.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kolkata visit , Oct 10,2009.

Finally got a chance to visit home and on the way kolkata. In the mean time my Durga puja Leaves were cancelled and I had to cancel my train tickets. So I made a point to reach home on kali puja and Diwali. And hence the visit. I and Debalina boarded the Falaknuma exp from Secunderabad and reached kolkata on time. Believe me on time. I had taken my camera with me and had a desire to take some shots at different locations in Kolkata. First I started with Laketown foot bridge. Mitul and Dr.Subham, my cousins accompanied me. It was evening and I got good shots from the bridge of the road and the vehicles.

Then we moved to Citycenter shopping maal and had a nice Adda among us and later joined by Mithu and Kamalika di. I took some snaps of citycenter but was prevented by guards to take some more of them. Reason not well explained. We went for clarification from the management and we were asked why we were taking shots. On explaining they asked us to come the next day with formal letters. Daam with there process, we decided not to take any more shots over there. BTW I thought taking pictures in public places is allowed, but I am not sure about Bengal.

Next day Amritendu asked for a meeting which I agreed with pleasure, after all he is my childhood friend. We decide to meet somewhere near Victoria Memorial. Mitul and I reached the venue and didn’t waste a minute to shoot the Victoria Memorial in evening lights. Amritendu was late by an hour, and I was fed up waiting for him. After we meet and had a chat we decided to rope in Maitrayee who was working in a nearby office. We waited near the AC market and after calling her a number of times she arrived with her typical smile, u may also call it a half laugh. She is also my childhood friend and it was a double delight for me to have both of them together. We exchanged ideas and had a lot of fun chatting. Maitrayee’s friend joined us and we moved to Nandan. It was getting late and we decided to have something and disperse. Amritendu took us to a Chinese restaurant. Finishing the dimsum we dispersed to our own destinations.

It was truly a memorable evening, it made us rekindle out friendship and showed that we still have the same bond among ourselves even after so many years.

Capturing Birds through my New Lens

I haven't updated the blog for quiet a long time and I don't know why. May be that I became a bit lethargic, may be. Well I bought a new 70-300mm Tamron Lens for my Nikon camera and was waiting for an oppurtunity to use it to the fullest zoom available.So on 5th of July 2009, Sunday, I and Bazooka went to hunt birds with our lenses. Location : Manjeera dam near Sangareddy. We started after noon and on reaching Sangareddy had lunch. It took us almost an hour to reach sangareddy, but the road was awesome. While we rode through the countryside we found some cranes on a field and started our job. Villagers present at the field must have had a weird feeling about us. After almost half an hour we again started our onward journey, on our way we found a kingfisher and didn’t waste a moment to shoot it. Reaching the dam was not tough but reaching the desired location took a while and we had to trek through the rocks towards the water body. Bazooka set his camera on my stand and we patiently waited for the birds which didn’t made us wait much longer. Soon we found kingfishers and flock of harpeice.
It was happy shooting time for us. But wait, whats that at a distance. We instantly focused our lenses towards the moving object in the water. Oh ho, it’s a croc, I mean a Crocodile, and its heading towards us. Time to run focks, just RUN. We ran through the rocks passing through the tall grasses, bazooka fell and had a scratch on his left ankle but saved his 500mm lens.

From safe distance we watched the croc enter the grasses near the water. We shot a few more birds and left for Hyderabad.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Home Comming

Aranyak-My Home
Jan 14th 2009.

After spending almost 5 months in Hyderabad finally I got a few days leave to go HOME, and the reason was my cousin’s marriage. On a fine winter morning of Hyderabad, I and my room mate Samrat boarded a Cab and reached Samsabad airport to board a flight to Calcutta. I had been to this airport on the night of its inauguration and then almost a year after, I am taking a flight from the same. I was pleased to hear that photography was allowed inside the terminus and didn’t waste any time to take out my camera and make full use of the occasion. I took some pictures inside the newly built airport and also of an aircraft which was just taking off.

My cousins marriage was over by 18th and I was willing to visit my grandfather who lived in the small town of Katwa. Considering the fact that busses will be crowded and the freedom of roaming around will be cut short, I decided to travel on a bike.

On 21st morning I took the bike of my brother in law and rode on. The cold winter morning greeted me with chilling winds over my face and after a long time I felt the chill of the winter. It was a bit foggy and Sun was just rising from the horizon behind the palm trees. A sight which I saw after a long time. I was riding through a single lane road through the country side amidst fields green with potato crops. The thatched houses and the cattle greeted me while I passed through the villages which were just awakening from slumber. In few villages the villagers had erected check post with Bamboo so as to stop heavy vehicles and collect donations for the upcoming Saraswati Puja. I was also stopped at one of the check posts by some children.

I passed through the mustard fields full of yellow flowers, it reminded me of the scenes that are often shot in Indian commercial cinema. Its just I was passing through some of them rather than sitting in the theater and watching any movie. Every passing vehicles blew a storm of dust on my face, but I liked it because it was the dust of my mother land rather than the pollution of the cities. I had to stop at few villages to confirm from the villagers the route that I was traveling was correct.

Enroute to my grandfathers place I stopped by my native village and had my breakfast. I haven’t visited our house for more than 2 years, and I enjoyed every moment of my stay over there. I prayed in our mandir and then started my onward journey.

After meeting my grandfather after almost 2 years I felt how much I miss them. I lost my grandmother just a couple of weeks back and it was my misfortune that I couldn't see her for the last time. Grandpa is alone now and i wished I could have stayed back. I admire him a lot and I wish that I get some of his qualities, if not all, so that I can consider myself a human being worth living in this world. I doubt whether me or any of my cousins can ever reach the human level that he had reached. He will always be someone whom I will respect and look at even when he has traveled to some other world.

I bid goodbye to my aunt and rode back home. On my way I touched Burdwan University Golap Baag Campus, where I had studied for a brief period. I loved the campus for its greenery and its trees. The sun was setting and after I met one of my cousins who was studying Masters in the university, I rode back home.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ride to Hampi

Virupaksha Temple

Hampi, the capital city of Vijaynagar kingdom, once a prosperous state and now in ruins was my next target for travel. Hampi is almost 400Km from Hyderabad and after searching the internet I got a fair idea of the places to see and expected time to cover them. So what’s more, one fine evening I called up other riders and decided to visit the place.

After convincing my TL to let me go half an hour before the schedule on the D-Day, we made our plans for the ride. We decided to ride to Mehboobnagar on 5th September evening and stay for the night at some Lodge and next day starting early morning we would ride to Hampi. As decided we (Govind, Srinivas Brothers and myself) met at Mehdipatnam at 6.30PM on 5th September and set off. We were joined by Raghu near Samsabad airport.

Mishap at Shadnagar: We reached Shadnagar, about 50Km from Hyderabad within an Hour. While crossing shadnagar a man in early twenties while trying to cross the road, came in front of Raghu’s bike. Raghu tried to save him and in the process his bike skid and he fell off. Though he wasn’t injured (just a few bruises) his bike bore the brunt of the fall. The foot rest came off and it was not possible to ride without it. We found a mechanic shop and after more than an hour of HARD work we got it fixed, though not permanently. Fixing the bike we moved on. We stopped before reaching Jadcherla, at a dhaba to have our Dinner.

Finding a lodge in Mehboobnagar was not a difficult one and we rested our backs in a decent lodge. Sleep has already crawled in our eyes and while Govind tried hard to fix his new music system and chat over his mobile, I surrendered to deep slumber.

Waking up early morning at 4.30 AM was never easy to me, but the excitement of reaching Hampi woke me up as soon as the alarm rang. We were ready by 5.30 AM on the morning of 6th September, and riding at a good pace towards our next destination which was Raichur (Karnataka state).

Sun was just rising from the horizon and the fresh light washed off all tiredness and gave us the zeal to ride on. The fresh energy imparted by the gentle sunlight was clearly visible from our faces. We were passing through sunflower fields and all the flowers were facing the rising sun and the gentle light made them look as if we were passing through some land described in fairy tales. We got spellbound by the scenic beauty of the rising sun and thousands of sun like sunflowers who smiled at us as we rode on.

Unlike Hyderabad the road through this part of Karnataka passes through lush green fields which reminded of the agricultural fields of Bengal. So similar yet so far. The morning sun gave a wonderful view of the surrounding and we reached Raichur within 2 hrs.

Breakfast at Raichur (Karnataka): We reached Raichur at 8:00AM and found all shops shut. It seemed to us that something was wrong as there was very less traffic and less people on road. We found a south Indian restaurant and had our Breakfast. No petrol bunks were open except one, and its needless to say that there was a long queue in front of it. So we decided to fill our ‘heavier halves’ in some other petrol bunk outside the city. After refueling we carried on our journey.
shaktinagar power plant
The state highway that links Raichur and Gangavati (our next destination) was a good one except the speed breakers. There were speed breakers (a set of 6) before and after each locality that we passed through which reduced our speed considerably. Once near Saktinagar I almost fell of my bike due to the speed breakers. As we approached Saktinagar the cooling towers and chimneys of the power plant could be seen from a long distance. They stood amidst lush green fields bellowing smoke and water vapor, a man made structure amidst the greenery. I realized that development has its cost and amidst such greenery it was really unwanted.

Govind was riding hard and Raghu and I were riding together. Since Raghu’s bike was not going beyond 80Km/Hr, we had to limit ourselves to that speed. Gangavati is almost 135 Kms from Raichur and we rode with patience to reach there. Finally at 11.30 AM we reached outskirts of Gangavati.

A bumpy ride to Hampi :
From Gangavati to Hampi there are two routes, one through Hospet and another goes directly to Hampi. We, the WANDERER’S took the road LESS TRAVELLED. And believe me that road didn’t give us any pleasure to ride. It seems that there was a road not long ago but only remainders of it could be actually found. It was full of potholes filled with rain water and it was really difficult to negotiate the potholes. After riding almost 45 minutes through that horrible stretch we finally came across a stretch which could be called a ROAD. While crossing the hills we got a wonderful view of the valley and the banana plantations surrounded by coconut trees. The rocky hills had beautiful cactus on them. We did halt to take snaps.

While entering Hampi I felt as if I was entering History. Wherever I looked I saw relics of beautiful stone carved mandir’s, gateways and other structures. Long ago people used these roads and came in horses and elephants and now we were entering in our bikes. I felt that the gates and structures were welcoming us, and as if they already knew us and we were not new to them either. I haven’t visited such a beautiful ancient city earlier and it was totally new experience for me. History beckoned us and we roared with our bikes as we entered.

Hampi was a large city, well built and must have been inhabited by thousands of people. It must have taken generations to build it. But it took a day to destroy it. What a destruction drive it must have been and what barbaric acts were enacted to destroy such a beautifully built civilization. The Bahamani sultans did something which history can’t ever forgive. The more we saw the more we felt about the destruction of such a beautiful city.

We boarded a small lodge and after getting refreshed we had our lunch in a small hotel. The hoarding of the hotel boasts of being recommended in Lonely Planet but we found just the opposite. The food quality was not upto the mark. After we filled up our appetite we were up to discovering the place. And in front of us there was a huge gopuram (entry gate of a mandir).

Discovering Hampi : The gopuram in front of me was of Virupaksha temple, built in Dravidian style. It is one of the few temples at Hampi, where the deity is still worshipped. It is said that Virupaksha temple was saved from the destruction of Muslim rulers thanks to a divine intervention. It was a large temple complex and an elephant was seen inside munching on leaves. It consisted of three towers and a central Mandir (temple) where the deity (Virupaksheshwara or Pampapathi) is still worshipped. There are many rooms and passageways surrounding the main temple. One of the main attractions of the temple is the inverted image of the main Gopuram in the western wall of the temple through a small hole behind the sanctum. European’s claim to have invented the Pin Hole Camera but what about the Inverted image that was deliberately built by the people of Vijaynagar kingdom centuries before any such inventions by the Europeans. They must have knowledge about the inversion of images and hence portrayed such a thing in a magnificent creation – The Virupaksha Mandir. I had to pay Rs. 50/- to take pictures inside the temple but the entry fee was only Rs. 2/-. We didn’t take any guide for this temple.

Lakshmi Narasimha temple

We rode up to the Hemakutam hill and there we decided to take a guide with us. The guide charged us Rs. 500/- for 4 hrs, which we thought was more than enough. Our next stop was Lakshmi Narasimha temple. We found a beautiful statue of ‘Ugra Narasimha’ (violent Narasimha). The statue was partially damaged during the pillage that happened after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire. Even the partially damaged statue is exquisite with Lord Narashima in Yogic pose with snakes protecting him. Just opposite of the statue was a Badavi Linga temple, which houses 12 feet tall Shiva Linga made of blackstone. The speciality of this temple is that the shiva linga is surrounded by water which was brought through channels of stone which is still intact and the water never dries up even during summer months.

We stopped at a Shiva temple nearby which was unearthed a few decades ago but the structure was still strong enough to hold its own weight. Inside the temple there was no deity since it was destroyed in the onslaught that followed the fall of Vijaynagar Kingdom. Only Nandi bull could be found confirming that it was a shiva temple.

Lotus Mahal

The Royal Enclosure : Our next stop was the Royal Enclosure, which contains the Lotus Mahal (palace), elephant stables, and Zenana enclosure. The Zenana enclosure or the queens’ quarters is an eclectic blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, surrounded on all sides by tall watchtowers – most of them in a state of ruin. This enclosure housed 2 of the queens and was guarded by Eunuch guards since no male except the king was allowed inside. The elegant Lotus Mahal appears suspended, like a floating palace on a full moon night. This structure contains earthen pipes that were used to flow water inside the walls of the palace so as to keep it cool during summer months. The earthen pipes are still intact. The elephant stables are close by, a majestic row of 11 domed stalls, with arched connecting doorways. These stables were to house ceremonial elephants, only 11 among 6000 that the king had. One of the palaces here has been converted into a museum which displays an impressive collection of royal artifacts.

The enormous platform known as Mahanavami Dibba in royal enclosure served as a platform for kings, consorts and royal officers from where they could view festivities. It had a seven storied wooden palace of the king and a golden throne. The building was burnt following the fall of the kingdom by the Muslim rulers. About 30 feet above ground level, the Mahanavami Dibba is decorated with intricately carved horses, soldiers, a couple of foreign looking dignitaries, and a scene showing girls frolicking in water all depicting the daily life during those days. The vintage view of the Tungabhadra as it silently winds its way through the rocky cliffs is enchanting.

Stepped Tank
Another must-see monument here is the stepped tank, into which water was fed by a series of stone channels which still exist, an example of expert engineering techniques developed several centuries ago.

We found some of the stone plates which were used by soldiers to eat food. The guide informed that there was a mile long structure which had series of stone plates with water flowing in channels in front of them which were used by the army to feed its soldiers.

We were then guided to the king’s swimming pool which was 70 meters in length and had considerable depth. Stone channels were used to feed water in the pool and a lifeguard tower also existed.

A little distance away is the grand Hazara Rama Temple, originally built by Vijayanagar kings for private worship. The temple which stands within a walled enclosure exudes an air of elegant serenity. It is equally radiant in the day as its rock sculptures glisten in the rays of the morning sun. The relief sculptures on the walls and temples depict scenes from the epic Ramayana. The temple had 4 black granite stone pillar’s, the stone was brought from Warangal had beautiful carvings on them.

Nearby was the queen’s bath. It is an enclosed building with a pool of fresh water inside it. Water was brought through stone channels in the pool.

Our next stop was to Hampi’s famous Vittala temple. En route were monuments far removed from the tourist circuit – Purandara Mantapa on the banks of river Tungabhadra; and the King’s Balance where it is believed that the Vijayanagar princes weighed gold and silver ornaments received as tribute from subordinate kingdoms. We also discovered an ancient bridge over the Tungabhadra River.

Vittala temple

The Vittala temple is perhaps the finest example of Vijayanagar architecture. Originally constructed by king Devaraya, it was further embellished during Krishnadevaraya’s reign. The temple comprises an impressive rajagopura, a sabha mantapa (congregation hall), narasimha mantapa, kalyana mantapa (wedding hall), utsava mantapa (function hall) and several small Devi shrines in the passageways. The pillars hewn out of single granite blocks with carved friezes, produce musical notes when tapped gently, prompting the mantapa to be christened the Hall of Musical Pillars. It is said that kings 2nd wife who was a dancer used to dance in that mandir and musicians armed with sticks used to pad the pillars to bring out the desired music. Every pillar contained a statue playing a musical instrument depicting the sound to be produced when the pillar is stuck with a stick. Our guide gave us a small demonstration by tapping the pillar by his thumb. It amazed me a lot, since these solid stone structures could produce different sounds, was beyond my imagination. I was rendered speechless by such precision and workmanship of the artisans of that era, certainly with all modern technology we can’t recreate them.

 stone Charriot

Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple :Perhaps the most breathtaking structure in Hampi is the amazing Stone Chariot installed inside the Vitthala temple. This life-sized 22 feet tall chariot carved out of stone is testimony to the skills of the stone carvers of the Vijayanagar era. The intricately carved monolithic stone wheels rotate on an axle with an awe inspiring precision and detailing of sculptures. The wheels are now sealed to protect them.

In front of the Vitthala temple was a large Bazar primarily for selling horses. It was 900mts long and horses from different countries like Arab nations were sold in these market. It was an international trading center. We also came across another market call Pan Supari Bazar which was a trading center for ornaments and Beatle leaves and pan masalas.

Sun was setting down and it was time that we returned to our hotel, I stopped by Krishna temple while others carried on. The Krishna temple complex is also a large one, beautifully carved stone temple. It was also destroyed. Inside I took a few snaps of the wonderful carvings and statues of Garuda (Vahan of Lord Vishnu). The gopuram was a magnificent one and the temple is a masterpiece of art.

Visit to Hospet :After refreshing ourselves we decided to ride to Hospet so as to see a musical fountain show near the Tungabhadra dam. The road to Hospet is smooth and it was a pleasure to ride through it. As we reached the dam site the sky became overcast and it started raining. We took shelter in a hut in front of the fountain, the show started almost immediately. There were leakages in the roof and water was trickling but it didn’t deter us from watching the full show. After the show was over we rode amidst rain and reached Hospet town. Finding a good place to have our dinner was never an easy task, it took a while but we ultimately found one.

Way back it was pitch dark and riding through gust of rain was really enjoying. The road ahead of us was visible only by our bike’s head light, Raghu dropped his bottle of water and it rolled back to him through the road. Back in hotel we all surrendered to slumber with little delay.

Ride Back Home. 7th September 08. Last night we decided that we would try to cross the Tungabhadra river and visit the places at the other side, but the rains increased the water level and boats would not ply. So we had no other option but to start our journey back home.
At 11:00 we started after having breakfast. I ate Guntapongal among other dishes in breakfast. Guntapongal is made of idli mix but is fried instead of steaming them. It was served hot and I really enjoyed it.
We reached Gangavati by 11:45 and had our lunch in Shaktinagar at a dhaba before we reached Raichur at 2.15 PM. We reached Jadcherla at 5.30 PM and after having tea we took the Highway back to Hyderabad.

A survival story: Sun was setting and it was getting dark. Govind’s bike’s tail light got fused and it was difficult to spot him. I could clearly see clouds in the horizon with occasional lightening. I feared a thunderstorm. We were riding among good amount of traffic and we were slowing down as the highway only had 2 out of 4 lanes operational and we had to change lanes after few kms. Overtaking the long vehicle’s was proving to be a challenging task keeping in mind our safety. Riding a few kms my fears were proved to be true. A thunder storm was waiting for us. It started raining cats & dogs. I was the lead rider and hardly could I see anything in front of me. I was blinded by the force of rain drops falling over my eyes in considerable speed. I blindly followed the tail light of a vehicle in front of me. Lightening lit the other wise dark surrounding but still I couldn’t figure out anything on the road. It required nerves of steel to carry on. Govind, Raghu and Srinivas trailed me. We were riding just to survive and praying that the rain stops as quickly as possible. Riding for almost 1 Hr in the incessant rain we finally reached the outskirts of Hyderabad where Raghu and Srinivas bid us good bye and Govind and myself carried on our journey towards our home. We thanked the almighty for saving us. It was a terrifying as well as enjoying experience for me. It took out the best riders in us and showed that we also do have nerves of steel.

This trip marked a satisfaction and achieving a long awaited desire to visit Hampi. I always wanted to visit Hampi since I read about it during my school days. I thank my fellow riders who gave me company and filled my journey with joy. The ride also proved beyond doubt the toughness of our vehicles and the passion we have to ride them. It also proved that finding an opportunity to travel to different places, though not easy but having one gives the freedom of getting out of this mundane life which I always do wait for.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My New Camera

Bodhi's NIKON D60
One of my dreams was to own a digital SLR camera, and I still can't believe that I have really bought one. This is a NIKON D60 digital SLR camera having resolution of 10.2MP. I bought this on August 23rd 2008 from a shop in Esplanade, Kolkata. It did burn a hole in my pocket but considering my passion for photography I am willing to bear the burden of paying the EMI on the credit card. I was accompanied by Ranjit and Mithu ( both very close friends of mine ) when I bought the camera, and the first shots with it was taken on the same day in Esplanade.